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Ethne the White

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Ethne the White
EthneTheWhite
Allegiance: Elohim
Race: Human
Allignment: Good
Favorite Civic: Liberty
Favorite Wonder: Shrine of Sirona
Traits: Creative
Defender

On the day of her birth, the king decreed that his daughter would never witness the suffering of the world. So Ethne grew up in luxury, tended to by an obedient staff, and she never saw the world past the lavish gardens that surrounded the palace. She grew into a gentle-spirited girl, not expectant or demanding as one might expect of a child in her situation, but kind, without malice of any sort.

Her world remained tiny until the day she saw Splendor, a brightly colored blue and yellow parrot that came gliding over the palace hedges. Ethne was 14 and she expected the bird to come to her call, as all of the palace animals had been trained to do so, but he merely sat looking down at her from the branches of the Tulip Poplar tree.

Confused but fascinated by the strange bird she brought him fruit and nuts and after she backed away he flew down to the plate she had laid out for him. He landed beside the plate and hopped up to it on one leg, holding the other close to his body. Ethne realized he had been hurt, one of his claws was missing, and she cried for the first time she could remember as she watched him eat and hobble on the edge of the plate.

Unable to stand it, Ethne got up and came toward Splendor, wanting to somehow fix him but she only scared him away. His wings were uninjured and in a few seconds he was airborne and he flew out of the palace grounds. Ethne chased after him, overwhelmed with grief for the poor bird. She ran by the marble fountains, the topiary gardens, ponds full of sparkling fish, all without blemish, to the sculpted hedges that marked the borders of her world. And without thinking, she pushed through them and dropped onto the city street beyond into a world unlike anything she had imagined.

People pushed and shoved through crowded streets, tired horses dragged wagons through the mud, diseased beggars yelled for charity and were ignored by everyone. People argued over scraps in front of decaying buildings.

Ethne wandered the streets for hours, unable to comprehend the suffering that existed outside of the palace gates. Well past nightfall, she was stopped by a man with golden blond hair dressed in blue robes.

"Child, do you know that many search and worry for you?"

"I know." She answered, too confused to say more.

"You have been able to see the world as one outside of it, to know something of perfection and how we fall short of it. It is a rare experience for the mortal mind."

"There is so much evil," Ethne struggled to communicate her thoughts, she didn't have words for most of what she was feeling. "Everything is broken, even the palace life is wrong, when there is so much need outside of it. I haven't seen anything that is good."

The stranger knelt down beside Ethne, his grey eyes locked on her watery blue as he told the following story: A farmer's horse jumped the fence and fled his field. The following day his neighbor came to console him for his loss, saying, 'I am sorry for the evil luck that has befallen you.'

The farmer only replied, 'Who is to say what is good and what is evil?'

The next day the horse returned and it brought a wild horse with it. The neighbor came back and congratulated the farmer on his good fortune.

The farmer only replied, 'Who is to say what is good and what is evil?'

A week later the farmer's son was trying to tame the new horse when he was thrown from it and broke his leg. Again the neighbor came back to curse the farmers bad fortune.

The farmer only replied, 'Who is to say what is good and what is evil?'

On the following day the captain came to the town to recruit men for the war and passed by the farmers son because of his broken leg. Once again the farmer said to the neighbor, 'Who is to say what is good and what is evil?'

Ethne considered the story before replying, "If this is not evil, then what is?"

"Good, or evil, isn't what happens to you. It isn't creation. It is what you do about it. When you return to your palace after seeing this, how you have changed will be for good or for evil."

Ethne returned to the palace that night, and she took to her studies with a new fervor. She had the hedges removed and looked daily out into the country she was the princess of, determined to take the lesson to heart.

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